Surprising Chicago Cubs Star Listed in Latest MVP Polling

The Chicago Cubs have one player who has an early outside shot to win the National League MVP award.
May 18, 2024; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Cubs pitcher Shota Imanaga (18) enters the field
May 18, 2024; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Cubs pitcher Shota Imanaga (18) enters the field / Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
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The Chicago Cubs are playing decent baseball right now as they sit just 1.5 games back from the Milwaukee Brewers for the National League Central lead and currently own the second Wild Card spot.

Despite some unfortunate injuries, underperforming stars and a new culture to fit into with manager Craig Counsell, all things are looking good for this Cubs squad.

The brightest spot of the season has been rookie ace Shota Imanaga who was signed out of Japan this past winter.

Imanaga is doing things that few rookies have done, especially when it comes to Chicago's franchise. While Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto was the talk of the town in the offseason, it's been Imanaga making all the headlines when it counts.

The Japanese ace has dazzled over 53.2 innings and five starts to the season as he has posted a pristine 0.84 ERA with a minuscule 0.913 WHIP. He leads all of the Major Leagues in winning percentage, ERA, ERA+ and FIP.

In other words, he's the best pitcher in baseball at the moment.

That has caught the attention of MLB.com and their latest MVP poll who has Imanaga listed as one of the players receiving some type of vote for the award. While he didn't earn a first place vote, the fact that a rookie is on the list in the first place is an incredible feat.

Imanaga is very likely on his way to a Rookie of the Year award but if he continues this same trajectory, an NL Cy Young is in the cards as well.

Could an MVP be in his future too?

Regardless, he has been the highlight of a very exciting Chicago Cubs season and the franchise looks to return to winning ways.


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Kade Kistner

KADE KISTNER

Kade Kistner is the publisher and beat writer for Sports Illustrated's Inside the Cubs. An alumnus of Tulane University, Kade graduated in 2017 with a degree in Latin American Studies and a minor in Spanish. Upon graduation, Kade commissioned into the United States Navy and attended Naval Flight School in Pensacola, Fl. He served as a Naval Aviator and was stationed in Jacksonville, Fl. During his time in school and the Navy, Kade began covering the MLB and NFL with USA Today, SB Nation, and Sports Illustrated. Kade covered the New Orleans Saints, Texas Rangers, and numerous other teams within the Sports Illustrated network before launching Inside the Phillies, Inside the Astros, and Inside the Cubs. You can follow him on Twitter at @KadeKistner, or if you have any questions or comments he can be reached via email at kwkistner@gmail.com.